A road less travelled

In which we go for a walk

My younger self roamed wild over these moss sprung hillocks, feet incautious until one would sink calf deep into a hidden burrow beneath a troublesome root. It was here we found blunt badger skulls, dragonflies the size of a grown up’s hand, and an endless supply of scratches and stings. 

Today wavers between sunshine and shade, shifting from dappled scenes of teddy bears’ picnics to the gloomy hollows of a Forbidden Forest. The wild scabious has hung glowing violet lanterns to light the way, painting a purple haze onto retinas. Willowherb withers and dries, then casts itself to the winds in curls of fluffed seeds.

The other floral efforts have retired now and the bees have moved on to less green pastures. This year, the blackberries never made it past livery pink before mummifying on the bramble. An early autumnal transformation signals stress amongst the deciduous. 

My younger self delights in the feel of hollow thumps beneath scrabbling hands and feet, she wields lichened stick-swords that are longer than she is, and stares up at a sliver of sky that snakes impossibly far above. 

She’s quite a while away from thoughts of climate change, invasive species, dieback, ticks, or sustainable woodland management. But it’s comforting to know that her uncomplicated delight can now wander hand-in-hand with the concerns of adulthood. 

Bugfingers

In which I detect a plot

The ficus has mealy bugs.

I think my plants have unionised against me. They’re smuggling insects in after dark, conspiring to contract as soon as my back is turned.

Spidermites curl the lemongrass.

They watch me investigate, their leaves a masque of solemnity. They eye all sprays with unimpressed buds, and shrug the liquid to the floor.

The geranium is laced with caterpillars. The mint opted for thrips. 

Maybe it’s a masochism thing. They get a kick out of having their veins sucked (too much Twilight?). ‘Bite me harder! You know how I like it!’ The Very Hungry Caterpillar obliges, handcuffs in tow. 

The spider plants alone, take no insect companion.

They’re the cockroaches of the plant world, capable of surviving a nuclear incident or asteroid impact, and they clone themselves at a speed that might one day lead to world domination.

Dubious allies, to say the least.

Or possibly they’re back-stabbing members of the plant race, eliminating all competition through insect collaborators before triumphantly supplanting (ha).

Maybe I should just farm insects instead…